Skylanders: Swap Force may look like a typical game for kids, but look deeper. What you'll find is a platforming adventure that's worthy of players of all ages, no matter which Skylander you choose to take with you. Furthermore, there's some deep tactics involved, depending on how you're looking to approach the game.

That's not to say it's incredibly hard, but following our advanced tips will help you unlock more goodies in Swap Force, and discover treats that you may otherwise miss out on. Happy Skylanding!

The Arena Awaits

Skylanders: Swap Force isn't just a single player journey through a magical world. Arena Mode once again makes a return here, and allows you to battle your friends locally in two-player versus combat in a number of areas. All you need to do is select the two Skylanders you want to fight with, place them on the portal, and enter the mode. 

Depending on a player's tactics, a fight can either be a free-for-all where the last man standing wins, or a concentrated battle where you use traps in the environment to your advantage or find a way to corner your opponent for additional hit points.

The best thing you can do to dominate Arena Mode is practice, practice, practice. Don't forget to skill up your Skylander of choice in the single player mode, then invite friends over to do battle. Know your arenas inside and out, and decide on good "hot spots" where you know you can get a hit or two in.

Mostly, don't forget to have fun. This isn't Street Fighter-level strategy, but it helps to know who you're up against. Your Skylander will clock up wins in no time. 

Powering Up

Over the course of the game, you'll find – and occasionally repair – power pods, which you can use to level up your Skylander however you see fit. There are two general areas in which to strengthen your character – upper half and lower half. With each one, you'll find different techniques that you can unlock, depending on what kind of comic style you're going for.

Let's take Wash Buckler, for example. Leveling him up, you can unlock a number of abilities. These include a bubble gun that temporarily incapacitate an enemy for a few seconds (mostly smaller ones), a tentacle whip attack that can sting anyone close enough to him, and a spinning attack that hits multiple enemies at once and lasts a few seconds. The better the ability, the more coins it'll cost you.

Don't worry about currency, either. You'll find plenty of ample rewards in Swap Force, whether you're seeking out treasure stockpiles, collecting scattered coins or completing side missions for bonus funds. If you're short the first time you go through a power-up station, simply bulk up your money and return later, and buy the upgrade you want.

Watch the demonstrations as well. You'll get an idea of just what the moves will do for each character, and how they'll suit you best.

Remember, any upgrades you do buy stay with your character, so don't be afraid to swap one out, level up another, and then go back to them.

A Tale of Many Hats

At first, hats may appear to be just a cosmetic change to your character, whether you're going with a chef's hat or diddly-boppers. In truth, though, they actually serve a purpose, increasing one or more of their skills quite a bit.

Case in point – in previous games, each hat served a purpose in various areas, including Armor, Speed, Elemental Power and Critical Hit. Some, like the Plunger Head, provided +2 Critical Hit and +2 Elemental Power. Others focused on one general area, like the Trojan Helmet and the +10 Armor. Some later on in games even provided more points, like the Wizard Hat with +25 Elemental Power.

Swap Force is no different. You'll run across shops where you can turn in your money and buy hats for your character. Even though they might look silly – again, pointing at the diddly-boppers – they serve their purpose well. One to keep an eye out for is the Gaucho Hat, which offers +10 Strength, +15 Ranged Strength and +15 Greeble Strength. It's a real asset.

In addition, keep in mind that various areas offer different hats. No two shops will offer the same kind of inventory. So, if you see a hat you want, don't hesitate to add it to your collection and try it out. You can always swap it out later for something else if it doesn't suit your fancy.

Now…where can we find that unicorn hat…?

Skylanders: Swap Force is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, and will release on November 15th for PlayStation 4 and November 22nd for Xbox One.